Shaved Pear Salad with Peach Mango Goat Cheese, Fresh Mint, Purple Basil and a White Balsamic Raspberry Vinaigrette

Shaved Pear Salad with Peach Mango Goat Cheese, Fresh Mint, Purple Basil and a White Balsamic Raspberry Vinaigrette

This is the perfect summer salad made up of sweet pears sliced paper thin, tangy peach and mango goat cheese, refreshing fresh herbs, and a slightly sweet, slightly tangy dressing of white balsamic and raspberries. To make the dressing, combine white balsamic raspberry blush vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon pepper sea salt seasoning and whisk. When shaving the pears, use a vegetable slicer at its 1/32″ setting for the perfect, paper thin slices. Julienne the mint and basil, add crumbled peach and mango goat cheese and drizzle the homemade dressing on top. Serve immediately.

Cucumber and Cashew Salad with Goat Cheese and Tomatoes

Cucumber and Cashew Salad with Goat Cheese and Tomatoes

Sometimes less is more, as is the case with this salad. Made with sweet grape tomatoes, crunchy cashews, crisp and refreshing cucumbers, tangy honey goat cheese, fresh ground lemon pepper seasonings and a fig balsamic drizzle. You can use whatever balsamic vinegar you can get your hands on, but a sweeter, lighter balsamic works best for this salad. (Make it vegan by omitting the goat cheese!)

What you will need:
cucumber
grape or cherry tomatoes
honey goat cheese (or any type of goat cheese, really)
cashews
lemon pepper sea salt grinder
balsamic vinegar

Slice the cucumbers and quarter them. Slice the grape tomatoes in half and place both ingredients on a plate or in a bowl. Add crumbled goat cheese and cashews, give the lemon pepper grinder a few twists and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve outdoors on a humid summer’s day with an ice cold martini.

Juicing and Cleansing

Juicing and Cleansing

I like to keep this blog about recipes and not make it too personal, but I’m going to step away from that for just a moment. I recently started working for a raw food and juicing specialist, Anna Harouvis of Anna in the Raw (annaintheraw.com). It’s partially why it’s been two months since I’ve updated with new recipes. I’m blogging about this now because today I started day one of a five day juice cleanse, my first cleanse ever! I’m following Anna’s juice cleanse while also supplementing it with Nature’s Secret 5-Day Fast and Cleanse. It’s now the end of my first day of cleansing and I have to say, I feel pretty great. I’ve had some moments of feeling slightly tired and lethargic but I think that might have more to do with not getting enough sleep last night. I’ve had some food cravings, too, but they’ve passed quickly.

It’s good to give your digestive system a break every once in awhile to clean out built up toxins and let your body focus on things that need to be repaired. When your body isn’t constantly focusing on digestion, you allow it time to heal and repair. We eat nonstop- when we’re hungry, bored, sad, and we even mistake thirst for hunger, causing a lot of people to overeat. I haven’t truly felt hungry yet, but I’ve wanted to eat out of habit and boredom. So I’m going to bed tonight satisfied, not because my belly’s full, but because I know I’m doing something amazing for my health.

Sweet and Spicy Curried Tofu Taco Lettuce Wraps

Sweet and Spicy Curried Tofu Taco Lettuce Wraps

With ingredients like hot Jamaican yellow curry, cooling cucumber and mint tzatziki sauce, Asian slaw and sweet pineapple- these tacos are infused with flavor that’s bursting at the seams! And they’re gluten free! The Hot Jamaican Yellow Curry Hot Sauce used in this recipe from my good friend, Cowboy George, at Blaze Gourmet, will have you running home crying for yo momma. That’s where the fresh mint leaves and tzatziki come into play. Without them, you might really run home crying to yo momma.

Also, follow these tips on how to freeze and thaw tofu to achieve the best texture and flavor. Don’t skip this step. It’ll give you the best tasting tofu you’ve ever had!

What you will need:
oil for sauteing
1 lb extra firm tofu
1/2 c yellow curry sauce (I recommend Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce)
1/4 c Blaze Gourmet Hot Jamaican Curry Hot Sauce
Asian coleslaw (you can buy this prepackaged at just about any grocery store. Most of them already have the Asian slaw dressing included. If not, look for an Asian ginger salad dressing)
canned pineapple tidbits, drained

tzatziki sauce
red onion, sliced
fresh mint leaves
romaine lettuce leaves

First, follow these tips on how to freeze, thaw and drain tofu. Crumble the tofu into a scrambled egg consistency and fry in a greased frying pan over medium heat, letting the tofu get crispy on the outside. Mix the two different curry sauces in a bowl and add to the frying pan, making sure to coat every piece of tofu in the sauce. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, mix together the ingredients for the Asian slaw. Then, start filling your romaine lettuce leaves, starting with tzatziki, then the curried tofu, Asian slaw, red onion, pineapple tidbits, and mint leaves. Serve with tequila for your next Taco Tuesday night!

Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole

SAM_4432This recipe for green bean casserole uses fresh green beans instead of canned and delicious porcini mushroom bisque (which also works GREAT as a vegetarian mushroom gravy!) instead of what most traditional recipes call for, which is Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup. I did stick to the traditional topping of French’s Fried Onions, though. It’s an easy recipe that can be thrown into the crock pot for 2 1/2 hours while you prepare the rest of your holiday meal. Makes about 6-8 side dish servings.

What you will need:

a crock pot and very large skillet
2 lbs. fresh green beans
8 oz crimini mushrooms (I used the washed and sliced ones to make things a little bit easier)
1 1/2 cans of Amy’s Mushroom Bisque with Porcini Mushrooms (Amy’s condensed mushroom soup also works great for this recipe and makes for a really good gravy, too.)
1/2 c almond milk (or your milk of choice)
2 1/2 tbs butter
Swiss cheese slices
6 oz French’s Fried Onions
1 small sprig of fresh rosemary

Rinse green beans and let dry. Remove stems by snapping them off and discard. Then snap the green beans in half. Meanwhile, turn the crock pot on high heat and let it warm up. In a very large skillet, melt the butter and add the green beans and mushrooms and cook until the veggies soften (about 15 minutes). Add Amy’s Mushroom Bisque, almond milk and fresh rosemary and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Then, transfer the mixture to the crock pot, cover with Swiss cheese slices (I think I used about 8) and top off with about half of the French’s Fried Onions. Cook on high heat for two and a half hours. You’ll know it’s done when the edges of the cheese start to brown and get nice and crispy. Sprinkle more of the French’s Fried Onions on top and serve with Thanksgiving dinner.

Baked Eggs and Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy

Baked Eggs and Biscuits with Mushroom Gravy

This recipe may just be the beginning of an ongoing series called “Eggs in holes”. Yeah, I know it’s been done before, but seriously, eggs baked in holes are amazing! And the possibilities are pretty endless. This recipe is somewhat of a twist on eggs benedict, but without any frying, meat (obviously), or hollandaise sauce. And it’s actually half of the calories of eggs benedict, with about 8 grams of protein per serving. It’s very easy to make and won’t weigh you down like a breakfast fried in tons of butter and oil. Makes 8 servings.

You can also add a layer of cheese on top of the biscuit in this recipe. A slice of smoked cheddar is highly recommended (I bought smoked cheddar just for this recipe and forgot to add it. Sad face).

What you will need:
1 can of 8 large buttermilk biscuits (not the flaky ones)
8 eggs
3- 4 sweet bell peppers, depending on the size
1 can of mushroom bisque (Amy’s makes and amazing mushroom bisque that’s thick like gravy)
fresh rosemary (or other herbs of your choice)
scallions, diced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, cut peppers into rings that are about 1/2 inch thick. Make sure not too cut them too thin since they will be holding the egg on top of the biscuit. Flatten out biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet (if you’re adding cheese, now would be the time to do it), making them wide enough to fit the pepper rings on top of them, then press the pepper rings into the biscuits. Crack an egg into each pepper ring and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the eggs whites have turned white. In a sauce pan, heat the mushroom gravy while the eggs and biscuits are baking. Once the eggs and biscuits are done, smother them in gravy and top with fresh rosemary and scallions and serve.